John Brown’s fight to end slavery in the United States is presented in a broad historical context that reveals an impact far beyond the time it occurred.
John Brown and his efforts to end slavery were integral aspects of the lead-up to the U.S. Civil War. Connecticut-born Brown’s American roots were deep; one of his ancestors arrived on the Mayflower. Brown’s religious fervor reflected that ancestry. Another shaping factor was his large family, as he experienced tragic losses and financial pressure to provide for them. The many difficulties he faced increased his sympathy for the downtrodden and served to intensify the abolitionist sympathies he learned from his father. In this detailed, archivally illustrated volume, Marrin broadly contextualizes the issues raised, considering the historical roots of slavery in the world, constitutional compromises that allowed it in the country’s founding and the resistance to racial equality. His analysis of events encourages readers to explore the complexities that inform an event of this magnitude and what it can reveal about our own times. “He raised thorny questions about the use of violence at a time when democracy seemed ineffective and the road to justice blocked by self-interest, brutality, and racism,” Marrin comments in an afterword that draws connections between Brown and modern-day terrorists both religious and secular.
A comprehensive portrait of an ever-fascinating figure. (source notes, further reading, index [not seen]) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)